Phillies 2018 season preview: Outfielder Nick Williams

jtown
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 06: Nick Williams #5 of the Philadelphia Phillies follows through on a sixth inning two run home run against the New York Mets at Citi Field on September 6, 2017 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 06: Nick Williams #5 of the Philadelphia Phillies follows through on a sixth inning two run home run against the New York Mets at Citi Field on September 6, 2017 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
facebooktwitterreddit

Nick Williams had his rookie debut overshadowed by Rhys Hoskins, but he still showed the potential to be the Phillies everyday right fielder.

The only Phillies rookie anyone wanted to talk about last year was Rhys Hoskins. In fairness, you can’t really blame them considering the absurd amount of home runs he hit to start off his major-league career. However, Hoskins overshadowed some other good rookie seasons from other players, one of which came from Nick Williams.

Williams came into the 2017 season off of a down year in Triple-A. He started off the year decently but finished off the season hitting .221 with a .618 OPS and just two walks in his last 232 plate appearances. Prospect evaluators worried that Williams would be exploited by major-league pitchers as he had zero semblance of a plate approach as the season went on.

However, Williams was able to quell some of those concerns, managing a .328 on-base percentage in 78 Triple-A games last year. In June, the last month before Williams was called up, he had a 7.9 percent walk rate, leading to a .351 OBP.

More from Phillies News

Once Williams reached the majors, his walk rate was 5.8 percent. It wasn’t great by any measure, but considering how much of a concern his plate discipline was while he was a prospect, it’s manageable.

Even though Williams didn’t walk a whole lot, he sure did hit. He had a .288 batting average and .473 slugging percentage. 30 of his 90 hits went for extra bases. His 12 home runs were third-most on the team after he was promoted to the majors.

Heading into the offseason, most expected Philadelphia’s outfield this year to be Aaron Altherr, Odubel Herrera, and Williams. That changed once Carlos Santana signed and Hoskins moved to left field full-time. Now, Williams and Altherr are either expected to platoon in right, one of the two will be the fourth outfielder, or one gets traded. The last option seems unlikely at this point this close to spring training, but you never know.

More from That Balls Outta Here

Baseball Prospectus projects Williams to play 70% of the time this season, all in right field. Williams is projected to have a .256/.298/.449 line with 20 home runs, 62 runs batted in, and 0.5 wins above replacement. They are not projecting much of a sophomore season from Williams.

While Williams isn’t projected to perform that well this year, there is certainly reason to believe he will play much better than that. He showed the ability to bounce back from slumps in the majors last year, something he wasn’t able to do in the minors.

As long as his walk and strikeout rates stay in check, Williams should be able to outperform those projections easily.

Next: Top five catchers in Phillies franchise history

Whether or not Williams and Altherr are in a platoon this season will likely be hashed out in spring training. Even if they do split time, expect Williams to have a solid sophomore season and be a steady offensive contributor to this team.

facebooktwitterreddit